Jonathan Rea will make his MotoGP debut, as a factory Repsol Honda rider no less, when he stands in for injured reigning champion Casey Stoner
at this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix.
While Stoner returned to Australia for ankle surgery, Honda's World Superbike star Rea has had the chance to undertake three days of testing with the RC213V ahead of his Misano grand prix debut.
The 25-year-old Ulsterman moved from 3.1s behind, at the end of his first day on the 1000cc prototype at Brno, to 1.8s after the second and final day of testing at Aragon.
“For me it's a big dream come true just to race in MotoGP; it's been very unfortunate for Casey to sustain such an injury when he was having a very strong season and my best wishes go to him while he recovers,” said Rea.
“Now, my job is to replace him and I will try to do the best I can. I love Misano, I've already raced there this year and I finished second, it's also where I had my first ever Superbike win in 2009 and I enjoy the circuit and the Italian fans, they are always very enthusiastic.
“I take this opportunity like a great gift from Honda; in the few days I've spent with the team I have felt very good, they understand it will take me some time to push with this bike but I'm learning every time I get on it.
“It's been great to have these three days testing on the bike to prepare myself and for sure Friday morning will be less chaotic. We already have the riding position set, the base set-up is set and I understand the electronics a little more.
“I know it's going to be busy, but I'm ready".
Rea is standing in for Stoner whilst continuing his WSBK duties, which saw him take a fourth place in race two of Sunday's Nurburgring round, having fallen in race one.
Although he has not tested the RCV at Misano, Rea finished fifth and second in this year's WSBK races at the Italian track - and took his first ever WSBK win at the circuit in 2009. Current Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Ben Spies won the other race that year.
Rea is also expected to stand-in for Stoner at the following Aragon MotoGP. Only one Honda MotoGP ride is yet to be decided for 2013, the Gresini seat currently occupied by Alvaro Bautista.